Sunday Evening Reflection - September 23, 2012
The scripture from this morning from Mark begins with the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest among them. In the midst of debate, Jesus gives them a visual parable by placing a child in the middle of the circle.
When we think about the questions - Where does our wisdom come from? Where should our focus be? Who is the greatest? Jesus' lesson illustrates that our focus should be on the people that, though the world shoos them to the margins, God places at the center. Jesus brings a radical reversal - blessed are the innocent, the vulnerable, and the marginalized.
As Pastor Renata remarked, "Jesus did not say, 'Blessed are the middle class.' Instead he blessed the people who would give anything to be there.'"
As my faith journey evolves - I find myself brought, yet again, to a new employment circumstance where I will be working with people struggling with very difficult challenges - mental illness, health challenges, homelessness, addiction, and poverty. Over the years, I've learned a thing or two about humility and human resilience from people that society places on the margins.
Which is why it's so frustrating when our national discourse says, "why don't you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Why do you feel so entitled to government help anyway?"
The reality is that people who are constantly rowing against the tide know how to muster every ounce of energy just to move a few feet. And many folks have had to fight just to get to the place where they are now, or, with the economic downturn, to stay there.
The sermon today at church reminded me the theme of radical reversal the fills the Bible. God places marginalized people at the center, and calls them blessed!
God says, "the world may have shut the door, but My House is unlocked, and my Table is set to serve you a meal that will fill you with more than bread."
The world may say, "There's not enough to go around. And you're already using too much anyway - too much that you didn't work for and that you don't deserve." But Jesus tells us a story about loaves and fishes. The baskets had more in them when they were done than when they started.
In the Gospel stories, Jesus shows us time and time that we don't need to do anything other than be God's blessed creation in order to get an overflowing portion of God's grace. Jesus pours out this grace and breaks down the social barriers of his time by dining with tax collectors and Roman centurions, by healing foreign woman at wells, and helping the blind to see.
I don't quite know how to define my call to ministry other than this - I've been called, you've been called, we've each been called, to share the story of God's love with the world.
And God can, and God does, work through each of us. We are not only recipients of that Grace, and Peace, and Love. But we can be agents of grace, and peace, and love. We can be seekers of justice. We can be channels of change.
For God is turning the world around. Right now.
We are each called to share the radical, mind shifting good news with the world - that the last are first, and the margins are the center, the broken are made whole, and the abundance of love is for everyone for all time!
So, let's get going.
What are we waiting for?